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Hugh Aitken

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Biography

After spending a few years as a navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps, following his studies in chemistry at New York University, Hugh Aitken returned to his original vocation -- music. His interest in music had been nurtured by his father, a skillful violinist, and his grandmother, a pianist. It was completing his service in World War I that he enrolled as a student at the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied with Vincent Persichetti, Bernard Wagenaar, and Robert Ward, and received his M.S. in 1950. In 1960, the school hired him as an instructor; in 1970, he was appointed chairman of the William Paterson College's music department, where he became professor in 1973. This composer of dramatic, orchestral, chamber, and vocal works, wrote two operas (Fables [1975] and Felipe [1980]), partitas, quintets, several concertos, serenades, and various other pieces. With firm musical principles rooted in Classical models Aitken used various effects to produce what he considered to be appropriate moods for his works. His Berceuse (For those who sleep before us) for Flute and Orchestra (1992) was recorded by CBC in 1995 and his Partita for Violin was released under the New World label in November of 1987.
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